Kentucky Rep. Edward Whitfield said Wednesday that he will resign from Congress next week. The disclosure, made in a letter to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, comes almost a year after the Republican announced he would retire in the face of a House investigation into ethics violations.
His resignation will be effective Sept. 6, the day the House returns from its summer recess, according to his Aug. 29 letter. Whitfield’s office said he would announce his future plans in the next 30 days.
Bevin, a Republican, said Wednesday he would call a special election to be held the same time as the Nov. 8 general election. Republican James Comer and Democrat Sam Gaskins are running for the seat.
Whitfield’s move would allow his successor in the 1st Congressional District to gain seniority over other newly elected representatives and to serve during a post-election “lame duck” session.
In July, the House Ethics Committee concluded unanimously that Whitfield “failed to prohibit lobbying contacts between his staff and his wife.”
But the committee concluded that the 11-term lawmaker did not break the rules that prohibit House members from using their influence improperly.
The Office of Congressional Ethics first took up allegations that Whitfield allowed his wife, Constance Harriman, to contact his staff about federal legislation that her lobbying firm was interested in, beginning in January 2011, through at least 2015.
In the Ethics Committee report, Whitfield acknowledged that his “oversights led to unintentional violations” of House Rules.
Whitfield, who represents the western part of the state, is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power. He is also a negotiator on the conference committee created to reconcile the House and Senate versions of a pending energy policy bill.
Jeremy Silk Smith contributed to this report.